Saturday, January 09, 2016

Ancient Heliobacter Pylori

About the Heliobacter pylori found in “Otzi,” the 5,300-year-old frozen iceman found in the southern Alps:  (this news is likely to give some people ulcers :) )
Today, roughly half of all people worldwide are infected by H. pylori, which lives in the acidic human stomach and about 10% of the time causes ulcers. Varied strains of the bacteria are tied to populations across the world, with modern-day Europeans afflicted by a unique one that appears to be a mixture of older African and Asian ones.

But not Otzi, according to the new study, published in the journal Science. The complete genetic map, or genome, of the H. pylori bacteria found in his frozen stomach shows it belongs to an Asian strain of bacteria now largely confined to the guts of people living in northern India.

That suggests the north Indian strain once belonged to most prehistoric Europeans, prior to an influx of farmers from the Middle East into the continent more than 4,000 years ago. Those new arrivals likely carried the African H. pylori strain that mixed with the older Asian one to produce today’s signature European H. pylori bugs.
What this means is that fresh H. pylori strains that might have entered India, with the supposed migrating/invading Aryans some 2000 years after Otzi did not change the make up of H. pylori in India as much as the subsequent incursions of humans into Europe changed H. pylori in Europe.